When most people think about work gloves, the first things that will usually come to mind are those made out of tough leather and for good reason. The best leather work gloves do not only last for many years but are also tough enough to protect users against cuts, punctures, and abrasions.
If your profession often places your hands at risk, like a carpenter, furniture maker, blacksmith, general contractor, plumber, mechanic, or any other line of work that requires a certain degree of dexterity then you will need proper work gloves. Some people think that they do not need proper hand protection, citing that leather working gloves only get in the way of their work.
However, they are also placing their hands in danger because if an accident happens, which is quite common in workplaces, the hands are usually the ones that are in extreme danger. For instance, inexperienced homeowners who try to do DIY repairs on their homes just so they can avoid paying a professional contractor would almost always work without the proper protection.
Also, they often have to pay more in hospital emergency room fees because they either hit their fingers with a hammer or got their hands sliced open trying to pick up broken glass shards. If your hands are your meal-ticket then do your best to keep them safe.
Table of Contents
- Best Leather Work Gloves Reviews of 2021
- 1. Wells Lamont Leather Work Gloves
- 2. Midwest Gloves & Gears American Made Buffalo Leather Gloves
- 3. OZERO Flex Grip Leather Work Gloves
- 4. Carhartt Leather Fencer Work Glove
- 5. KIM YUAN Leather Work Gloves
- 6. Superior Glove Goatskin Leather Work Gloves
- 7. OLSON DEEPAK Heavy-Duty Industrial Safety Gloves
- 8. Vgo Unlined Cowhide Split Leather Work Gloves
- 9. CLC Custom Leathercraft 2055L Split Cowhide Gloves
- 10. OZERO Insulated Cold Proof Leather Gloves
- What is a Pair of Leather Work Gloves
- How Do Leather Work Gloves Work
- Types of Leather Work Gloves
- Why Do You Need Leather Work Gloves
- Buying Guide
- Care and Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Leather Work Gloves Reviews of 2021
1. Wells Lamont Leather Work Gloves
What I loved about these protective gloves is that they are made from 100% pure cowhide. The first time I put these gloves on, I can feel that they are tough and durable. These are made out of 100% grain cowhide and double-stitched at the seams. They also come with reinforcing patches on the palms and fingers.
These little details show just how much craftsmanship went into each pair of gloves. Aside from durability, these full-grain leather work gloves provide more than ample protection for the hands. Because they are made of premium cowhide, the gloves are highly resistant to puncturing and abrasions.
You can work as hard as you want without worrying about the status of your gloves. They will be just fine, so expect your hands to be the same. A neat detail that the manufacturers included that I truly liked is the adjustable wrist cuff. It comes with a ball and tape adjustment so you can choose just how tight these gloves fit.
Moreover, the straps prevent dust and dirt from getting inside the gloves and irritating the skin of your hands. The best features, in my opinion, are the keystone thumb designs. This means that the thumb is made from a separate piece of leather and stitched separately from the rest of the gloves.
This design allows more movement from the thumbs. It adds both comfort and additional finger dexterity that are sometimes lacking in work gloves in general. Although I am quite happy with the gloves that I received, there were quite a lot of people who reported that their gloves did not last as long as they expected.
2. Midwest Gloves & Gears American Made Buffalo Leather Gloves
The thing that impressed me the most about these gloves is that they are made out of 100% American Buffalo (aka Bison) leather. Even though bison and cowhide leather is almost identical in terms of strength and durability, bison is a bit more flexible.
These high-quality leather work gloves are gathered around the wrist using a bit of elastic. This will create a seal around your wrists that will prevent dirt and dust from getting inside. The cuffs are also hemmed for added strength and durability. This elastic band keeps the gloves fitting snug in the hands.
The thumbs are installed in a keystone fashion, meaning that they are made from a separate piece of leather and stitched separately into the main body of the black leather work gloves. This gives the thumbs more freedom of movement while making the buffalo leather work gloves very comfortable and not restrictive at all.
Because bison leather is naturally warm, these gloves do not need any additional lining. This means that these are much lighter than other leather gloves. Also, because they are thinner, you do not lose too much tactile feedback from your fingers, allowing you to perform more intricate tasks without having to remove the gloves.
3. OZERO Flex Grip Leather Work Gloves
I like the cowhide that the manufacturers used in making these leather construction gloves. Grain cowhide is one of the best materials for making gloves because it is naturally shrink-resistant. It is also very supple and flexible. It also has the keystone thumb design, which mimics the actual placement of the thumb almost perfectly.
Another reason I like this pair of all-leather work gloves is that they are made with 1mm to 1.2mm thick leather. This is thick enough to protect my hands against abrasion, scratches, and punctures (like when I tend my rose bushes). However, these are not so thick that my fingers can no longer feel anything outside of the gloves.
The palms are also reinforced with another layer of leather. This is useful in enhancing the durability against wear and providing more grip. The reinforced palm also provides additional padding for the hands to prevent the development of callouses.
The wrists of these leather safety gloves are gathered and have an embedded elastic band. This allows the gloves to hug the wrists of the wearer and prevent foreign particles and other kinds of debris from getting inside and causing all sorts of skin irritation on your hands.
This is beneficial if your hands often get irritated after they become a bit sweaty once you have worked for quite some time. However, although these gloves have been serving me well, the base around the middle fingers was a bit tight when I first used them.
Fortunately, after a while, they felt a lot more comfortable and easier to use. I think you just need to give them time to break in.
4. Carhartt Leather Fencer Work Glove
Although these soft leather work gloves are a bit on the expensive side, they are more than worth it just for the material that they are made of, which is suede leather. This material has the same durability as regular leather but is softer and more comfortable to wear.
This is ideal for fencer’s gloves because it provides sufficient grip even on wet surfaces. There are patches of extra suede leather wrapped across the palm and at the base of the thumb and they are meant to provide additional padding and durability. Also, the patches are stitched in such a way that they provide extra grip.
The additional leather patches also add even more puncture-resistance. This allowed me to hold onto barbed wire without any problem at all. Even though the suede leather is already soft and comfortable on its own, these work gloves still have a polyester lining that you can find along the palms for additional padding.
Moreover, there is a Sherpa pile lining across the top of the hand. This provides additional insulation and sweat-absorption qualities. Another thing I liked about the Carhartt fencer gloves is that they are flexible enough that I still have enough dexterity in my hands to do detailed tasks, like holding onto nails
5. KIM YUAN Leather Work Gloves
First of all, it is notable just how thick these premium leather work gloves are. At the thinnest part, they are at least 1.2mm thick, which means that they can withstand quite a lot of abuse. This makes these gloves the perfect choice for gardening, masonry, carpentry, and any other tasks where the hands need ample protection.
The cuffs of these toughest leather work gloves are gathered using a heavy-duty elastic band so that it will immediately hug around the wrists, providing a good seal. I find this feature very useful especially when I am cutting a huge pile of lumber for a carpentry project.
There is not even one bit of sawdust that was able to penetrate the gloves while I was working, making them truly comfortable. Even the construction made sure that they will last. This option for the longest-lasting work gloves is constructed using the Gunn cut, which simply means that the seams are as far away from the palms as possible.
It is mainly because that is the area that receives the most stress. This type of glove construction protects the seams, thereby preventing them from popping. Another detail about these gloves that I rather enjoy is the keystone thumb. This means that the thumb is separately stitched, thus giving the hands even more freedom of movement.
6. Superior Glove Goatskin Leather Work Gloves
Unlike the other leather utility gloves in this list so far, these are made from premium goatskin. This material is much lighter and softer than cowhide yet it is still very resistant against abrasion. This is why these gloves are more flexible and allow more dexterity compared to other gloves.
The downside to using goatskin is that it is much thinner than cowhide, so it does not have as much puncture and cut-resistance. The manufacturers had a solution for this: line the inside of the gloves with Kevlar.
This inner Kevlar lining greatly increases the puncture and cut-resistance of these gloves without compromising the weight and flexibility. These got an ANSI A4 grade for puncture and cut-resistance and Level 3 for ASTM standards.
Also, unlike the other gloves listed above, these are resistant to arc welding sparks, which means hot sparks and embers will not burn through them. However, it is important to keep in mind that these gloves are not heat-resistant.
They can resist sparks and brief exposure to open flames but will melt when they touch extremely hot objects. Another thing that impressed me about these good leather work gloves is that they are very comfortable. They are probably the most comfortable work gloves that I have ever used and I have seen quite a lot of brands in my time.
7. OLSON DEEPAK Heavy-Duty Industrial Safety Gloves
These brown leather work gloves are made from premium cowhide leather that is no less than 1.2mm at their thinnest part. Even though this makes the gloves quite thick, they are still soft and flexible. Because they are so thick, it adds to their puncture and cut-resistance.
It does not matter if these gloves are made of the strongest material on the planet. If they are not constructed well, they will still fall apart. This is not a problem with the OLSON DEEPAK Heavy-Duty Industrial Safety Gloves. These are constructed using double stitching at the seams.
They also utilized Gunn cuts so that the seams are as far away from contact surfaces as possible. The wrists also have a heavy-duty elastic band stitched inside to create a seal around the hands of the user. This prevents debris from getting inside the gloves. This is very useful when doing masonry or sawing huge piles of wood.
I have had cement accidentally poured inside my work gloves before and it is not a pleasant experience. Even though the cowhide material used for these gloves is quite thick, the great thing is that this is also the total thickness of the gloves. There is no inner lining as the cowhide is already soft and sweat-absorbent on its own.
8. Vgo Unlined Cowhide Split Leather Work Gloves
The thing that I liked the most about these gloves is that they are affordable. It is just a little under $17 for three pairs, which is a steal especially when you consider the quality of the product. If you require gloves for regular yard work or gardening and such, these are great investments.
The leather gloves are made of high-quality split cowhide leather, which provides above-average protection against puncture and cuts. This is great for people who work in warehouses or stock rooms as they can provide ample resistance against abrasions.
I have used these gloves for an entire afternoon of moving boulders for a landscaping project and they held up surprisingly well. When it comes to construction quality, this product is top-notch. The seams are double-stitched and utilized Gunn cuts to protect them from excessive wear and tear.
There is also an extra material across the palms and around the base of the thumbs for extra cushioning and added durability. Also, these come with a shirred elastic band across the back of the wrist. This ensures that the gloves are secured on your hands and will not slip off accidentally.
9. CLC Custom Leathercraft 2055L Split Cowhide Gloves
These are pretty inexpensive leather gloves and they provide more than their worth in benefits. First, these gloves are made of split cowhide leather, which provides just the right amount of thickness without compromising dexterity. Even with these gloves on, I can still perform tasks that require a bit of skill.
These are also thick enough that they provide a bit of protection against punctures and cuts. However, take note that these gloves, although they are made of leather, are not meant for heavy-duty punishment. These were made for logistics work, like moving inventory in warehouses.
For these purposes, this product can provide enough protection. One of the reasons why these gloves are as durable as they are is because of the way they were constructed. These are made using Gunn cuts, which means the seams are placed above the palms and fingers. This way, they will not be subjected to too much wear and tear.
With this type of glove construction, you can almost always be sure that it will not be the seams that will be the last to fail. Because the leather is not so thick, there is still quite a lot of tactile sense in the fingers. Although it is still difficult to pick up coins off the floor, I can still hold and manipulate small tools while wearing these gloves
10. OZERO Insulated Cold Proof Leather Gloves
If you are looking for lined leather work gloves that you can use even in the middle of winter, these are the ones that you need. I was surprised at how comfortable and warm these are. Even though it does not get too cold where I live, it does get chilly sometimes and the faux wool lining helped a lot.
I also liked that they are made of thick split cowhide that is at least 1.2mm thick throughout. This provides ample puncture and cut-resistance, which is important when using gloves with a thick inner lining. It is because it can be hard to feel through the gloves.
It is not enough that the materials used are tough. They need to be assembled properly and that is what was done for these gloves. All the seams are double-stitched and constructed using Gunn cuts to ensure that they will not pop open regardless of how hard the gloves are used.
I feel that the leather will deteriorate first before the seams – that is how strong these are. The materials are gathered around the seams and sewn to a strong elastic band so that when I wear the gloves, the wrists are completely sealed. This is nice when it is cold outside because the elastic prevents the chilly wind from getting inside the gloves.
What is a Pair of Leather Work Gloves
Leather work gloves are most likely the most popular kind of utilitarian hand protection that people use when they need to do manual labor, specifically those that have the potential of causing serious injuries. Leather, particularly cowhide, is the perfect material for these tasks because it is quite thick.
It is also resilient against damage, especially if it was treated very well. High-quality, full-grain cowhide is strong enough to resist stabbing, cutting, and abrasion, which is the kind of damage that you would expect from heavy manual labor tasks.
For instance, if you will be doing a carpentry project, you need to protect your hands from painful wood splinters (which usually gets infected when not treated immediately) and accidentally getting sliced open by box cutters or saws.
Not all leather work gloves are made of cowhide. Some brands leather from other animals. For instance, most of the leather gloves that come from certain parts of Asia, like China and India, sometimes use water buffalo hide. This could be stronger than cowhide when prepared properly.
Even in North America, some brands use bison leather and goatskin. These hides have their particular qualities and advantages, so you should consider them when you are shopping for gloves.
How Do Leather Work Gloves Work
In a nutshell, leather work gloves protect your hands against punctures, cuts, and abrasions while allowing a significant amount of hand dexterity to do your tasks properly. However, the question is what is it about leather that makes it the perfect material for work gloves?
Since there are different types of animal hides used for work gloves, we will focus mainly on cowhide leather as this is the most popular material used. For instance, if you need gloves that are highly resistant to abrasion, pick those made of cowhide. If you want gloves equipped with waterproofing properties, consider getting those made of goatskin.
Furthermore, because of their usual thickness and toughness, cowhide and buffalo hide are naturally puncture and cut-resistant. However, keep in mind that puncture-resistant and cut-resistant do not mean that these gloves are impervious to damage.
What it means is that they just do not get cut or punctured easily. So when you buy leather gloves, do not just grab sharp and pointy objects carelessly. They can and will poke through the gloves when handled improperly.
Types of Leather Work Gloves
Lots of brands and models of leather work gloves are available at present but in terms of type, you will notice that they are categorized into:
Pigskin Leather – Because of the sheer number of pigs being raised across the world, pigskin leather is fast becoming a popular material for making work gloves. Pigskin is versatile. It is also durable and breathable. Also, because it naturally has a layer of oil on the surface, you can expect it to be waterproof.
Pigskin gloves are also porous. Once you properly break them in, the leather gets softer and more breathable. This makes the gloves ideal for tasks that need excellent hand dexterity and protection.
Deerskin Leather – This is also a popular material in making work gloves. It is mainly because deerskin is lighter and more flexible than most other leather materials. It also has a better grip because it has more grain on the surface. This type is usually used for welding gloves because of its high heat resistance.
Among all the different types of leathers used for work gloves, deerskin is the softest and most comfortable to wear. Also, it provides more finger dexterity and tactile sense. However, deerskin is not quite as strong as cowhide or buffalo hide in terms of cut, puncture, and abrasion resistance.
Goatskin Leather – Goatskin is thinner and more flexible than cowhide and pigskin. It is also comparable to deerskin in terms of flexibility. Although goatskin has similar cut and puncture resistance as cowhide and buffalo hide, it differs in terms of durability.
When the leather starts to wear out, the cut-resistance and puncture-resistance will be affected, too. This is why most goatskin gloves are reinforced by adding a layer of Kevlar, or similar material, underneath the leather.
Moreover, goatskin contains a lot of natural lanolin, making it quite waterproof and resistant to abrasion. Also, goatskin can provide ample protection against welding sparks while keeping your hands warm.
Cowhide Leather – Cowhide is usually very thick, allowing it to provide more than ample protection against abrasion and nominal protection against puncture and cuts. However, this thickness combined with its somewhat loose fit might take a lot of finger dexterity away.
One advantage of this material, though, is that it lasts longer compared to goatskin and pigskin. Moreover, because it is the most widely available type of leather, it is more economical.
Buffalo Hide Leather – There isn’t much that makes buffalo leather any different from cowhide. Other than its color (buffalo hide is darker than natural cowhide), buffalo hide leather shares almost the same qualities as cowhide. Also, because the material is rare, gloves made out of it tend to be more expensive than cowhide.
Why Do You Need Leather Work Gloves
The short answer to this question is because leather work gloves keep your hands safe. If you are still not convinced, here’s the longer explanation that might make you realize just how important hand safety is.
Cut and puncture-resistance – If your line of work involves you putting your hands at risk of injuries, like getting poked, scratched, or downright getting stabbed and slashed, then you will need leather work gloves to keep them protected.
For instance, if you are a landscaper, then you will most likely handle not only sharp gardening tools but also plants with thorns and others that might cause severe skin irritation like poison ivy or poison nettles. Because of the risk, you have to protect your hands.
Abrasion-resistance – Leather gloves will serve as a second layer of skin for your hands – a thicker layer that does not feel anything, blister nor develop callouses. Work gloves allow you to grip onto tools tightly without slipping and use them to work harder without worrying about the skin on your palms and fingers getting shredded.
Provides Warmth – If you live in an area where the winters can get pretty harsh and you need to work outdoors, work gloves will be a necessity. Make sure to choose one with thick liners to keep your hands warm. Some leather gloves use leather that is thick enough to provide enough warmth.
When shopping for leather work gloves, several things and points should be considered. Be careful not to just buy the first pair of gloves that you see. If you make the wrong choice, you will not only waste money but also increase your risk of injuring your hands. Some things to look out for when hunting for a good pair of gloves are:
Tasks at hand – Think about what tasks you will most likely be using the gloves for. For instance, if you like to putter around in your backyard garden every morning then choose those that are thick enough that your hands will not get punctured by thorns.
However, it should also be thin enough that you can still move your fingers freely. This will assure you that you can do delicate tasks like holding onto stems when pruning bushes or picking delicate fruits and vegetables.
The material used – Leather work gloves are made of different types of leather materials. Be familiar with the unique characteristics of each. Be careful when choosing a type of leather because some are not as good at certain aspects as others.
Take goatskin gloves as examples. These are lighter and thinner than cowhide gloves but they are not quite as abrasive-resistant.
Construction Quality – Certain details on how leather gloves are made can tell you just how durable they are. Put extra attention to these details if you do not want to waste money on gloves with seams that might pop out the first time you use them.
First, take a look at the seams. Work gloves’ seams need to be double-stitched to prevent them from getting undone. The more stitches there are, the stronger the seam because the pulling forces are spread out to a larger area.
Also, look at where the seams are located. Ideally, you need to get gloves constructed using Gunn cuts. This simply means that the seams are found almost on top of the fingers, as far away from the palms as possible.
This will ensure that the seams will not be subjected to as much wear and tear. Also, this promotes more comfort when wearing it.
Price – Consider the size of your budget, too. If your job does not require the use of leather work gloves and you just want a pair to use for general purposes or when working on your garden, then you do not need to get the heavy-duty one that costs over $20 a pair.
It will be better if you just get some of the cheaper but still high-quality leather gloves. However, if you need sturdy gloves for work then look for the best ones that can still fit in your budget.
If possible, make room in your budget for the gloves because skimping out and buying the cheap ones might lead to serious injuries. Undoubtedly, this will cost more money on your part.
Care and Maintenance
Leather work gloves are very low-maintenance. Some are not even supposed to be washed because doing so will dry out the leather and make it stiff and brittle. If this happens, just re-condition the leather by applying mineral oil all over the surface and waiting for it to get absorbed.
Other gloves require you to wipe them down with a damp rag to get rid of any dust and dirt on the surface. Avoid getting them too wet, though. Once the gloves are clean, apply a thin layer of mineral oil on the surface to keep the leather hydrated, supple, and flexible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most popular leather work glove brands?
There are many different leather work glove brands out there but their quality vastly differs. Some are good while others are not. To avoid wasting time and money on mediocre brands, among the most reputable ones to choose from should include Wells Lamont, Midwest Gloves & Gears, OZERO, Carhartt, KIM YUAN, Superior Glove, OLSON DEEPAK, Vgo, and CLC Custom Leathercraft.
By choosing from any of these brands, you have an assurance that you will get high-quality work gloves worth their price.
What are leather work gloves used for?
You can use them for tasks that require the use of the hands but are dangerous to do so without proper protection. For instance, if you will be laying bricks, it’s important to use gloves that protect your hands from the rough surface of the bricks, keep your hands off the cement mortar, and provide you with enough grip to hold onto the materials.
Are goatskin gloves durable?
Goatskin work gloves are much lighter and more flexible than cowhide gloves but they have similar cut and puncture-resistance levels. However, it is not quite as wear-resistant. To compensate for this, some manufacturers line the inside of goatskin gloves with a reinforcing layer of Kevlar or similar material.
How to make leather work gloves last longer?
If you will be using the gloves for real heavy tasks like wood cutting, masonry work, and fencing then it does not matter how much you take care of them or how high quality they are. The gloves will still deteriorate after a month or two.
However, if you use two pairs of gloves in an alternating manner, the amount of wear and tear on each pair will significantly lessen. Cleaning the gloves regularly is a must, too, preferably after every use. However, avoid washing them in soap and water. You should not even get them wet at all.
Just get a damp piece of cloth or a rag and wipe it all over the gloves to remove any dirt that’s stuck on the surface. To keep the leather supple and flexible, every week or so, apply a thin layer of mineral oil (or olive oil, castor oil, or any other edible oil you have) all over the surface of the glove and wait for it to get absorbed into the leather.
How to make leather work gloves soft?
If your leather gloves are too stiff when you get them, the best way to get them soft and supple is to apply a generous amount of oil all over the surface. You can use any natural oil that you have, like olive oil, coconut oil, even castor oil. You may also use a dedicated leather conditioner.
You can also just break the gloves in by wearing them regularly. Usually, after a day or two of work, the leather in the gloves would have stretched enough to make them soft and flexible.
How to use leather work gloves?
You wear these gloves the same way you would regular ones. However, in some brands, you have a strap or elastic band around the wrist to keep them in place. Do not be surprised if the fingers are a bit loose. That is by design because making them any tighter will reduce their durability.
Also, know that not all leather work gloves can be used for the same tasks. Some are only meant for light to medium types of work, like driving and logistics work. These are typically the ones that are thinner and lighter.
Those usually made of thick cowhide leather and have reinforcing patches along the palm and fingers are the ones used for heavy lifting and other jobs that are more strenuous.
What is the warranty?
Typically, leather work gloves come with a 30-day warranty against factory defects. This means that if they come apart with normal use, then you are entitled to a full refund or a replacement pair.
Some companies have a lot of pride behind their products that they are not afraid to provide 90-day satisfaction guarantees. This means if you are not completely satisfied with your gloves, the company will refund your purchase, no questions asked.
Where to buy leather work gloves?
You can find several brands of this product in brick and mortar establishments like Walmart and Lowe’s. You can probably find around a dozen different brands. If you’re lucky, you will find the right gloves among them.
If you want to have more choices and better deals, go online shopping at online retailers like Amazon. There, you will find hundreds of different brands and models of leather working gloves as well as enjoy better deals.
One can never underestimate the usefulness of the best leather work gloves. Aside from helping you work more efficiently, they will also provide ample protection for your hands.
You have a myriad of choices when it comes to leather work gloves but take note that not all of them can provide you with the kind of performance that you expect and deserve. Hopefully, this buying guide was able to teach you all you need to know to make a wise purchase.